5 Missing Skills Holding Aspiring Managers Back from Career Advancement

May 14, 2015


Aspiring managers quite often have bucket loads of ambition, but in the excitement of career advancement, can overlook the key skills and abilities that separate an average manager from a respected manager.

Whether you're an aspiring manager looking to improve your business skills to land your first managerial position or if you are already in a management role and looking to climb your way to the top of your career ladder – this article is for you.

We’ll look at 5 key business skills most aspiring managers are missing and equip you with the ammunition you need to become a successful business manager.

1. Their project management is poor

Time-management and delegation skills are the pinnacle of being able to successfully complete a business project. Too often, many managers find themselves faced with the responsibility of simultaneously handling a number of different projects. Not only do they face time-constraints and lack of resources, but they are directly challenged with the task of being able to effectively delegate work to team members.

As a business manager, it is important you communicate with your team and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. Managing a project will become much simpler once you’ve understood your team and are able to delegate work respectively based on strengths and weaknesses.

2. They have no ability to think subjectively

Employers are always looking for key attributes which separate the juniors to the managers. A person with good analytical skills has the ability to visualize, analyse, articular and solve complex problems. What you learnt at uni was most likely very fixed and predictable.

Management is not about knowing everything in the textbook back to front. It's about handing complex situations on the fly. It's about coming up a solution that works best for the company. This means you need the inherent ability to judge whether a win in one department will outweigh a loss in another. This skill is so useful in business environments where productivity is key to ensuring projects are completed as efficiently as possible.

To improve your analytical skills, we encourage all aspiring managers to step-up and actively take responsibility in key business areas. This may involve solving a complex problem the business is facing, or identifying unnecessary obstacles in work processes and formulating actionable solutions.

3. They can't adjust their communication style

Communication isn't black and white in management - It's not about being solemn and serious, nor can it be about being everybody's friend. It's about adjusting your communication style and strategy depending on who you're speaking to. As employees we often find it hard to properly articulate our ideas and thoughts within business environments. This may be due to a number of factors. Whether it be a difference in personalities, age groups or even sex. By slowly foreseeing these differences and accepting that not everyone is the same is what’s going to play a pivotal part in being able effectively manage a large team.

Team-bonding sessions are a great way to help build and improve your communication skills. Talk with fellow colleagues, learn what makes them tick, what their hobbies are and what they hope to achieve in their careers. Sometimes, even the smallest parts we play on a day-to-day basis contribute to biggest success we receive in the long-term.

4. The inability to sell (not just products and services)

Sales - the driving-force behind every businesses. Sales skills don't simply extend to selling the products and services of your company. Sales skills are used everywhere - Selling your partner on why something should or shouldn't be bought. Selling your colleagues on where to go for lunch. Even if your management role doesn't directly involve sales, sales skills are hugely beneficial for increasing your influence and respect. From an employer’s point-of-view, incoming sales is what keeps every business up and running. It is also what keeps us employed.

Many aspiring managers often overlook the importance of sales skills, and this may be the sole reason why they’re yet to receive that well-deserved job promotion.

As an aspiring manager, possessing sales skills is highly regarded in any employer’s perspective. By demonstrating sales characteristics, you acknowledge to your employer that you understand the importance of the business’ finances. Once again, this may be the single determining factor that is holding you back.

5. Stubbornness to improve technological skills

Bill Gates Business Skills for Aspirational Management Quotes

Bill Gates once said “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it". This quote is more relevant than even for technology.

Regardless of your industry and position, there are people who are content with using the same, outdated and inefficient methods and processes they learnt years ago to complete their tasks. They're repeating that same excel task manually that would have saved them days of personal and company time if they just learnt the formula. 

New and emerging technologies are constantly been released on a daily basis. Some of these technologies may affect your business more than others. However, what they all share is the single purpose of improving common to complex business practices.

As a manager you will be expected to stay on-top of emerging technologies related to your industry. To improve your existing managerial skill set, we suggest all aspiring managers to take it upon themselves to identify, research and keep up-to-date with all relevant technological changes.

To conclude on the 5 essential business skills outlined, it is important to note that not having one skill won’t completely affect your chances at becoming a successful manager. Many business managers who only possess a few of these skills still heavily excel in their positions.

Don't fall behind on management career. Our Diploma of Leadership & Management course both refreshes existing leadership and management skills, while setting up the perfect platform to kickstart your career.

If you find yourself struggling with some of the skills outlined, BCA National offers an online Diploma of Leadership & Management course (BSB51915) which can improve your existing business skills and secure your dream job.